recently, i took my son, who is in his late twenties, out for for a much belated birthday lunch. while waiting for the restaurant to open, he paid me a strange complement. he thanked me for not making him “sensitive.” he complained that many of his friends were “too sensitive” about life. he expressed happiness over the fact that he bothered so easily.
at two years of age, it was known that my son’s life was not going to be easy. let alone being biracial, he was diagnosed a speech deficiency. speeking only consonants and no vowels led to years of special education. wonderful teachers worked and minimized the problem. it appeared that he was likely to be a stutterer.
he grew with no young boys in the neighborhood. to cure this, we embraced little league baseball. baseball, as much as his speech, however, proved to be a struggle. due to poor pitching in lower level baseball, children often choose to not swing at pitches. as such, they don’t learn how to hit a ball. rather, they stand at the plate like statues letting pitches pass by and get a “free pass.”
my son and spent years of anguish trying to get him to have the courage to swing. this anxiety was coupled with seasons of bench sitting. family and friends are often coaches’ preferences for playing time as opposed to giving everyone an opportunity to grow. one coach, who eventually melted down in disgrace, could not see within him to abide by the minimal rule of allowing each child an at bat. eventually, my son got on a team where he got an opportunity. during this time, i acted as a coaching assistant. eventually, he would make his high school ninth grade team. in his second year on the team, he started at shortstop and was the lead off hitter.
i embrace a the parental philosphy to breed independence. with that, i allowed him to fail. i allowed him to get up when he feel down. when he was disobedient, he was confronted. additionally, at the expense of family vacations, he (and his sister as well) was sent to summer overnight camp to become his own person.
to present, he has entered the adult world and has held continuous employment since college and has meaningful relationships with others.
after his birthday lunch, i had a thought. was this success, in part, due to “insensitivity training”? are we, as a society, teaching children who fall and skim their knees to get up and move on with their lives? or, as we teaching them stay on the ground, cry, and have the world console them as a “victim.”
is it time for the young to be taught insensitivity? is the history of sparta been erased as much as the origins of the oompa loompa?